For the past few years, Myriad has partnered with NSGC to host three genetic counseling student interns during the summer. The positive feedback resulting from that program inspired us to expand the program this year to include a student from each of the training programs in the United States.  We were thrilled this summer to host 28 students from across the country for a 2 day workshop designed to introduce them to Myriad, allow them to experience a day in the life of a molecular diagnostic lab, and to expose them to the many roles genetic counselors play within the field of hereditary cancer genetic testing.  We’d like to introduce you to two of these outstanding students, who will shortly join the ranks of our profession!

John Abernethy, University of South Carolina

John Abernethy

 I am a second-year genetic counseling student at the University of South Carolina and was recently selected by my program to attend one of Myriad’s 2-day workshops during the summer of 2012. Part of the reason why I was so eager to attend the workshop is because of my background – I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Biology, then spent the next four years working as a molecular biology laboratory technician at UNC under Dr. Lillie L. Searles. This background has given me unique insight quite often as I have progressed through my training to be a genetic counselor so far, as not all of my fellow students have had the opportunity to be involved directly with a lab. I was looking forward to the workshop with Myriad primarily to see what goes on “behind the scenes” of one of the country’s largest commercial testing labs for this reason, but what I was left with was a profound sense of the various roles that genetic counselors can play at such a company. Myriad really impressed upon me the variety of positions that the genetic counselors employed take; I was struck by how much they valued their genetic counselors and encouraged them to take non-traditional roles. In addition to the typical counseling role (Myriad calls this the “Professional Support Specialist” role), you can find genetic counselors in research, marketing and sales, just to name a few. Overall, I was impressed with how much everyone I spoke with seemed to enjoy working at Myriad; the positive “patient-first” workplace environment certainly appears to play a big role. I heartily enjoyed my experience visiting Myriad and greatly appreciate the opportunity to do so.

—Michelle Landon, MS, CGC
Associate Product Manager